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“Person of the Year” Nomination for Higgs Boson Riddled with Errors | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

“Person of the Year” Nomination for Higgs Boson Riddled with Errors | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network | this curious life | Scoop.it

Time magazine recently posted 30 nominations for its ever-popular “Person of the Year” award. Tucked in between President Barack Obama and the Korean rapper Psy is an unlikely candidate for the “Person of the Year”—a subatomic particle.


'Under ordinary circumstances, we would be all for the elevation of the Higgs to “Person of the Year” status, if only to further honor the heroic efforts of thousands of scientists and engineers who made the discovery possible (more on that below). But Time’s nomination threatens to do more harm than good. Every single sentence in Time’s nomination contains at least one serious error.'

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this curious life
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Seuss
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Catching honey possums in Torndirrup National Park

Catching honey possums in Torndirrup National Park | this curious life | Scoop.it
Researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA) are spending their mornings chasing down the tiny marsupials to study their sugary diets.
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Hanging wind turbines under bridges could power up to 500 homes

Hanging wind turbines under bridges could power up to 500 homes | this curious life | Scoop.it
In countries like Australia, where we have plenty of empty space, finding places to put wind turbines and solar panels isn't a huge deal. But for all the nations out there with way more population density, working out how to generate renewable...
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Agent Orange Act Was Supposed to Help Vietnam Veterans—But Many Still Don't Qualify

Agent Orange Act Was Supposed to Help Vietnam Veterans—But Many Still Don't Qualify | this curious life | Scoop.it
The 1991 law presumes veterans were exposed to the defoliant if they have certain diseases and “set foot” in Vietnam, but Navy vets and Air Force vets in Thailand say they were also exposed. Here’s our guide to groups seeking Agent Orange benefits.
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How Champion-Pony Clones Have Transformed the Game of Polo

How Champion-Pony Clones Have Transformed the Game of Polo | this curious life | Scoop.it
Perhaps the greatest polo player ever, Adolfo Cambiaso is planning to compete on a pony that died nearly a decade ago—a clone of his beloved stallion Aiken Cura. With more than 25 replicas of champion horses now in existence, Haley Cohen explores how the science came to polo.
Janet Devlin's insight:

man's continuing attempt to establish dominion over nature: the commoditisation of life

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Armadillos are spreading leprosy in Florida

Armadillos are spreading leprosy in Florida | this curious life | Scoop.it
Cases of the rare disease are up in Florida and the armored critter seems to be the culprit.
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Solving the mystery of the invisible 'sea sapphire'

Solving the mystery of the invisible 'sea sapphire' | this curious life | Scoop.it

How the copepods can switch from being multicolored to disappearing completely.

 

Some of the most spectacular colors produced by organisms are derived from periodic layered structures on the length scale of the wavelengths of visible light. Such photonic structures consist of regularly alternating layers of two transparent materials with different refractive indices, such that light reflected from the different layers undergoes constructive interference for some wavelengths and destructive interference for others.


A multilayer stack can act as a spectrally selective reflector when the optical thickness nd (the product of the physical thickness d and the refractive index n) of the layers falls within the wavelength range of visible light, resulting in the observation of distinct colors. The most efficient reflector arrangement is the quarter-wave stack, where the optical thickness of both layers is equal to the one-fourth of the wavelength of the reflected light.


One of the most striking examples of such photonic structures are the male sapphirinid copepods, small marine crustaceans that produce a variety of different colors, but only when the incident light is at specific angles to the animal’s dorsal surface. Thus, the copepods “flash” light of a specific color, but as they move they become transparent and suddenly seem to almost completely disappear (a movie showing this behavior is available at http://www.liquidguru.com/octopod-copepod/). The goal of this study is to understand the structural basis for both the variability of the colors and the strong angular dependence of the reflected light.


Members of the copepod family Sapphirinidae are found between the ocean surface and a depth of 300 m. Their reflectivity and color are thought to play a role in interspecies communication and mate recognition in the open ocean. The iridescent colors of the males of each species are closely related to their distribution in the epipelagic zone and are thought to provide increased visibility against the ambient background. Species with warm colors (i.e., with longer wavelengths) are usually found in shallow waters, whereas species with blue colors are usually found in deeper waters, where the spectrum of the filtered solar light is primarily in the blue-green range.


Even within the Sapphirinidae family, the Sapphirina metallinamales, the main focus of this study, are exceptional in the variety and brilliance of their colors. The multilayer reflectors responsible for the colors in S. metallina are composed of stacks of anhydrous guanine crystals separated by cytoplasm, similar to those found in iridescent fish scales, silver spiders, and chameleons. In contrast to the crystals found in chameleons, the guanine crystals in the sapphirinids, as well as those in fish and spiders, are thin plates. The exceptionally high refractive index along the axis normal to the biogenic plate crystals provides high index contrast relative to the cytoplasm. Unlike the guanine crystals in fish and spiders, the sapphirinid crystals are perfectly regular hexagons in an extremely ordered arrangement (1). Earlier studies reported that the measured thickness of the crystals did not match the expected reflectance (or reflectivity) calculated assuming an ideal multilayer system. Furthermore, no connection was found between the thickness of the crystals and the copepod colors.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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10 Unbelievable Barbecue Stories

10 Unbelievable Barbecue Stories | this curious life | Scoop.it
From the war over who got the amputated limb to the woman who stabbed someone in the eye over the last rib, check out these ten shocking tales of barbecuing!

Via F. Thunus
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Human hands are just evolutionary hand-me-downs

Human hands are just evolutionary hand-me-downs | this curious life | Scoop.it
Human hands are just evolutionary hand-me-downs

When it comes to hands, it's chimps, and not humans, that have done the evolving, according to new research indicating that, despite learning to make stone tools, our hands have stayed pretty much the same. US and Spanish researchers measured t
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Kawasaki disease: an unknown illness with no definitive medical diagnosis and no known cause – but it may all be in the wind

Kawasaki disease: an unknown illness with no definitive medical diagnosis and no known cause – but it may all be in the wind | this curious life | Scoop.it
A child’s death from scarlet fever wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows during the devastating epidemics that swept Europe and North America in the 1800s. But Samuel Gee, a highly regarded doctor in England, found something very strange while cutting open the corpse of a seven-year-old boy in London in 1870. Gee’s post-mortem examination findings, preserved in a single paragraph written in 1871, recorded signs of damage called aneurysms in the coronary arteries running across the surface of the boy
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Oliver Sacks on Storytelling, the Curious Psychology of Writing, and What His Friendship with the Poet Thom Gunn Taught Him About Creativity and Originality

Oliver Sacks on Storytelling, the Curious Psychology of Writing, and What His Friendship with the Poet Thom Gunn Taught Him About Creativity and Originality | this curious life | Scoop.it
"The act of writing is an integral part of my mental life; ideas emerge, are shaped, in the act of writing... a special, indispensable form
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Pets at work policies proving beneficial for both humans and dogs

Pets at work policies proving beneficial for both humans and dogs | this curious life | Scoop.it
The pet friendly policies in some Australian offices have made it less uncommon to work alongside a pet.
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Australian scientists have reportedly found a hangover cure

Australian scientists have reportedly found a hangover cure | this curious life | Scoop.it
The CSIRO, Australia’s peak science body, might have stumbled across the most sought of cures in human history - the hangover remedy. The scientists have been researching pears with Horticulture Innovation Australia to discover the hidden benefits...
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Antibiotic resistance — what is it and why is it a problem?

Antibiotic resistance — what is it and why is it a problem? | this curious life | Scoop.it
Antibiotic resistance is when bacteria are no longer sensitive to an antibiotic. Read about how antibiotic resistance is caused & what you can do to help prevent it.
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Watch Smoke From Wildfires in Alaska and Canada Circle the World

Watch Smoke From Wildfires in Alaska and Canada Circle the World | this curious life | Scoop.it
Unusually large wildfires can cause problems for everybody.
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Ancient Americans migrated in a single wave from Siberia

Ancient Americans migrated in a single wave from Siberia | this curious life | Scoop.it
Two new DNA studies shed light on the migration of ancient people into the Americas, including 'surprising' links to present day Australo-Melanesians.
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Science Has Finally Explained the Dad Bod

Science Has Finally Explained the Dad Bod | this curious life | Scoop.it
Is there any way to put this delicately? Men, when they have children, get fatter. We’ve known this for a while, and now the first nationally representative sample confirms it. In a study published in the American Journal of Men’s Health, researchers at Northwestern tracked the body mass index of...
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10 Ironically Named Criminals And Crimes

10 Ironically Named Criminals And Crimes | this curious life | Scoop.it
From the woman named Crystal METHany who got arrested for shooting a missile into a vehicle to the man arrested for drugs with the real surname of Cocaine, check out 10 ironically named criminals and crimes.

Via F. Thunus
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Nanowires give 'solar fuel cell' efficiency a tenfold boost

Nanowires give 'solar fuel cell' efficiency a tenfold boost | this curious life | Scoop.it

Researchers make important step towards a solar cell that generates hydrogen.


Researchers have developed a very promising prototype of a new solar celll. The material gallium phosphide enables their solar cell to produce the clean fuel hydrogen gas from liquid water. Processing the gallium phosphide in the form of very small nanowires is novel and helps to boost the yield by a factor of ten. And does so using ten thousand times less precious material.


According to Bakkers, it's not simply about the yield -- where there is still a lot of scope for improvement he points out: "For the nanowires we needed ten thousand less precious GaP material than in cells with a flat surface. That makes these kinds of cells potentially a great deal cheaper," Bakkers says. "In addition, GaP is also able to extract oxygen from the water -- so you then actually have a fuel cell in which you can temporarily store your solar energy. In short, for a solar fuels future we cannot ignore gallium phosphide any longer."


GaP has good electrical properties but the drawback that it cannot easily absorb light when it is a large flat surface as used in GaP solar cells. The researchers have overcome this problem by making a grid of very small GaP nanowires, measuring five hundred nanometers (a millionth of a millimeter) long and ninety nanometers thick. This immediately boosted the yield of hydrogen by a factor of ten to 2.9 percent. A record for GaP cells, even though this is still some way off the fifteen percent achieved by silicon cells coupled to a battery.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Time Warner Cable owes $229,500 to woman it would not stop calling

Time Warner Cable owes $229,500 to woman it would not stop calling | this curious life | Scoop.it
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Many people dislike receiving robocalls. Araceli King disliked receiving 153 of them from a single company.

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Men who cycle more than nine hours a week are six times more likely to develop prostate cancer, study finds

Men who cycle more than nine hours a week are six times more likely to develop prostate cancer, study finds | this curious life | Scoop.it
Scientists at University College, London said they could not rule out whether cancer cases were caused by an increased pressure on the prostate.
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The gastric-brooding frog: how to bring a species back from the dead – video

The gastric-brooding frog: how to bring a species back from the dead – video | this curious life | Scoop.it
The remarkable story of how the gastric-brooding frog is being brought back from extinction by scientists
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This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste – and it's leaking

This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste – and it's leaking | this curious life | Scoop.it
The Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands is a hulking legacy of years of US nuclear testing. Now locals and scientists are warning that rising sea levels caused by climate change could cause 111,000 cubic yards of debris to spill into the ocean
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Hitler’s Parkinsonism changed history: study

Hitler’s Parkinsonism changed history: study | this curious life | Scoop.it
The Nazi leader’s poor decision-making was a typical disease trait, say researchers
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